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Sustainable living in Canada focus of recent visits

Environmental sustainability is a hot topic these days, with thought leaders of all stripes exploring how to reduce our personal and municipal environmental footprint. Two notable Canadians – former Toronto Mayor David Miller and Canadian Consul General David Fransen – joined members of the UCLA community this month to discuss the City of Toronto’s, as well as Canada’s, approach to sustainable living.

Miller led a morning roundtable on sustainable cities. During his seven year term, Miller was the chair of the C40 Climate Leadership Group, comprised of the mayors of the world’s leading cities, and working in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative. Since leaving office, Miller has continued to be involved with C40, been appointed as an advisor to the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He is also affiliated with the Club de Madrid, the international organization of former presidents and prime ministers. Miller sits on the boards of the Suzuki Foundation and Cape Farewell Canada and works as an advisor to international businesses interested in sustainability.

Fransen’s talk focused on Canada's approach to environmental mitigation strategies, investment in renewable energy and clean technologies, and the country’s energy and environmental interests in California and the United States broadly. As the consul general of Canada based in Los Angeles, Fransen is Canada’s senior representative in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. Prior to this appointment, Fransen spearheaded efforts which led to the development of Canada’s $3B Green Plan and established the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

These talks were the first of a new series of events aimed at bettering our understanding of Canada as a neighboring nation and partner.

UCLA’s Canadian Studies Program was founded in 2001. Currently led by Professor Glen MacDonald, director of the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability, the decade old program now operates in partnership with the International Institute with support from the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles.

The UCLA Canadian Studies Program is also shaped by its executive board, comprised of faculty members with personal and professional connections to Canada. Members include Professors Yoram Cohen, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; David Rigby, Department of Geography; David Neelin, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics; Jean-François Blanchette, Department of Information Studies; Brian Walker, Department of Political Science; Vinit Mukhija, Department of Urban Planning; Patrick Coleman, Department of French and Francophone Studies, and Paul Weiss, California NanoSystems Institute. Together, they are working to develop public programming, research opportunities and student engagement initiatives related to Canada.